What are shampoo bars and other cosmetic bars?

shapoo-bar

What are shampoo bars and other cosmetic bars?

23.10.2019


What are shampoo bars? Shampoo bars have arrived to stay. With the Zero waste ideology, more and more people want to get along with simple products. Bar-shaped products are the simplest cosmetic products you can find. What is the Shampoo, Conditioner and Lotion bars are made of? Are they as environmentally friendly as they are claimed to be? Read my story about shampoo bars and other beauty bar innovations!

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Photo silviarita Pixabaystä

Background of cosmetic cosmetics

Beauty bars were originally created by the zero-waste movement. People wanted cosmetics products without any waste and without anything that was not necessary. By creating beauty bars, this has been achieved almost or even 100% completely. Beauty bars do not require protective packaging. Beauty bars are usually packed in cardboard boxes or just in paper.

Of course, one could also sell beauty bars without any wrapping at all. For the product itself, wrapping is not necessary. In many countries, for legislation reasons there must be some wrapping. Product information including INCI lists must be clearly visible on the product. The packaging also protects the product from contamination. After all, beauty product is related to personal hygiene.

It all started with a soap bar

The zero-waste people first started to wash their hair with Marseille soap. In the beginning of the zero-waste movement, Marseille soap was the only acceptable detergent used in zero-waste household. It was used for washing hair, face, body, and the entire home, including laundry and dishes. The idea of replacing dozens of household chemicals by a single, simple, environmentally friendly product was perfect for both minimalistic and zero waste ideologies.

Pressure cause innovations, beauty bars were invented

Problems with Marseille soap were discovered pretty quickly. The product was not suitable for all purposes. There was also a desire for more, alternative beauty products and naturally beauty shops wanted more products for sale. This caused the sinking of Marseille soap to basic household cleaning use only. This is a pity, because Marseille soap is the best soap for skin. It is not suitable for cleaning or laundry because of its high fat content. It is suitable for wool, silk and leather cleaning.

The super-popular zero waste soap bar idea was intensely developed. This is how beauty bars products were created. Today, there is a beauty bar version of almost every cosmetic product. Especially shampoo bars are very popular. Manufacturers are developing more and more of them all the time. For sure there are several choices for every hair quality.

Beauty bars are ecological cosmetics

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Kuva S. Hermann & F. Richter Pixabaystä

Ecological cosmetics take the utmost account of the environment. All foreign substances are a burden on the environment. There are no completely safe substances. However, beauty bars have considerable advantages over conventional cosmetics.

  • Beauty bars are easy to carry when traveling.
  • Beauty bars need less space on store shelves
  • Beauty bars weigh less; why would you carry water with you
  • There is no packaging that burdens the waste treatment system
  • Ingredients of ecological beauty bars are completely biodegradable

Beauty bars are anhydrous cosmetics

Beauty bars are water-free. All ingredients are either fats, oils or completely dry ingredients. However, the lack of water in the product does not limit the number of other ingredients. You will soon notice how useless the water really is in cosmetics. After all, anyone can add water to the product him/herself. You don’t have to buy it with the product from the store and carry it home.

Water also causes significant problems. All water-containing products always need a preservative. To exclude preservative from an aqueous product would be a clear health risk and would make cosmetics unsafe to health. There is no water in a beauty bar product, so a preservative is unnecessary.

Anhydrous beauty bars are preserved without any preservative, without emulsifier or any other chemicals that affects the structure or shelf life of the product. This is a really big plus. The chemical load is significantly reduced by choosing beauty bars. But some manufacturers are adding toxic chemicals, synthetic colours and/or fragrances to some products. Therefore, better to check the ingredient facts carefully before buying the product.

What ingredients are used in making beauty bars?

Beauty bars are solid, anhydrous products. What are the ingredients then? Next, we’ll take a look of some beauty bars INCI -lists.

Beauty bars include all solid cosmetics sold as a bar. It includes soaps, ointments, cleansers, shampoo and conditioner.

Check whether the cosmetic product has been formed without any synthetic chemicals.

Beauty bars can get their solid shape in four different ways.

  • Traditional beauty bars are as soap-based products. Most shampoo bars are based on soap bars. Also, salt soaps for face and body cleansing are based on soap.
  • A shampoo bar can also be made using SLS or sodium lauryl sulphate. Sodium lauryl sulphate is the basic ingredient for most shampoos available in stores. It dries both hair and scalp. Although SLS is formulated as an anhydrous bar, it does not change the fact that the product itself is no good for hair or human body. I do not recommend SLS based products to anyone.
  • There are products containing only natural, solid vegetable fats such as shea butter, cocoa butter or mango butter. These ingredients make naturally solid product without any synthetic emulsifiers.
  • The fourth way to form a solid, bar-like beauty product is to use fat emulsifying chemicals. If emulsifiers have been used in the product, carefully examine the safety of the emulsifiers. Some emulsifiers and structure-improving ingredients may be very harmful to health and the environment. There are no harmful emulsifiers in real, natural cosmetics.

Traditional soaps

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Photo silviarita Pixabaystä

The traditional beauty bar product is, of course, the good, old familiar soap. The range of soaps has grown considerably. Several new soaps, suitable especially for the facial wash have appeared on the market. The alkalinity of these new soaps is minimized with either salt or a simply by adding plenty of fat to the soap. When adding fat, in most cases, manufacturers have added good quality healing oils. Also, vegetable extracts and essential oils have been added to the soaps.

What are shampoo bars?

What are shampoo bars? Shampoo bars can be either soap based or SLS based (sodium lauryl sulphate). By far the most common shampoo bar is a soap-based one. It is also by far the most natural and ecological. You can read more information about SLS emulsifier here. Soap-based shampoo bars contain more healing oils than regular soap. A shampoo bar may also contain other ingredients that are good for the hair and scalp. Nettle, clay, coconut, olive and hemp are often added to a shampoo bar. There has been criticism over the shampoo bar claiming they are too alkaline. This is true. They are not suitable for everyone’s hair. Some people can use soap-based shampoo only occasionally. For some, shampoo bar is a must they will never give up.

What are Conditioner bars?

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Making lotion bars Photo gefrorene_wand Pixabaystä

Conditioner bars are high in fluid oils. They are solidified with emulsifiers which work in oils. Such emulsifiers include stearyl alcohol and behentrimonium methosufate. Stearyl alcohol is a fatty alcohol made from stearic acid. It is not harmful to humans or to the environment.

Behenttrimonium methosufate

Behentrimonium methosufate is mild and effective ingredient. Its de-tangling and hair thickening chemical. Behentrimonium methosufate is made from rapeseed oil. It is an antistatic agent that removes static electricity from the hair and acts as an emulsifier. Behentrimonium methosufate also softens hair. Almost always stearyl alcohol and behentrimonium methosufate are added together. They work perfectly in a bar product as a pair.

What are Lotion bars?

Lotion bars are usually made from solid vegetable fats. They often contain plant extracts and essential oils. Lotion bars for sale are generally safe and made of natural ingredients only.

Human skin cannot completely absorb hard grease used in lotion bars. If your skin that gets easily pimples you should avoid lotion bars. Lotion bars are at their best when outdoors in the wintertime. When the wind blows hard and dries the surface of the skin, the ointment protects the skin. Remember, there is no water in lotion bars. Never spread a lotion containing water on your face in wintertime. You can check out my recipe for last-minute protective creams.

Cleansing bars or oil cleansing cakes

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Oil cleansing cakes are made in the same way as lotion bars using solid vegetable fats. However, the cleansing cakes are made from different oils. This gives a better cleansing effect. Domestic oil cleansing cakes do contain only safe, natural ingredients.

Beauty bars are the future

Noe you know what are shampoo bars. Beauty bars are definitely worth trying out. It’s an easy way to get and own cosmetics. Beauty bars are almost always an environmentally friendly choice. Most beauty bar products are for multi-purpose use. The shampoo works well both as a soap and as a shampoo when travelling. You can also remove makeup using a bar. Lotion bars can also be used as a face mask.

It is also nice to make beauty bars by ourselves. All you need is the suitable silicone moulds. And the best of all, you do not need any glass or aluminium storage jars for beauty bars. You can wrap them eco-friendly in baking paper and use them as gifts.

Have you already made beauty bars for yourself or as a gift?

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